Memorandum on Eligibility Standards October 2012

To: President Walter Harrison, Chair, Committee on Academic Performance
From: 1A FAR Board of Directors
Date: October 1, 2012
Re: Feedback on D1 Initial Eligibility Standards

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on membership suggestions for improving the initial eligibility (IE) standards as well as outreach mechanisms for educating the public about these new standards. We offer this constructive feedback noting that the 1A FAR Board supports CAP’s and Academic Cabinet’s efforts to assure the academic success of our student-athletes.

Regarding the “enhancements” (which seem to us as a ‘watering down’ of the standards) listed in 8 (a)-(f) on pg 8, we strongly believe major changes in the standards are premature. The 1A Board believes that time should be allowed for the new IE standards to take effect before changing them and chipping away at them with written exceptions, waivers, or other changes. Our members who sit on the Academic Cabinet assure us that these new standards were based on careful data analysis linked to increasing success as measured by projected first-year GPAs and graduation rates.

Waivers can continue to be heard starting in 2016 on a case-by-case basis, but why dilute the new policies before they are even in effect? That being said, we certainly encourage the Academic Cabinet and CAP to monitor data of incoming SAs over the next few years to be mindful of, and attendant to, risks of disproportionate impact on access and on students from minority groups. For alternative (f) regarding educational communications, we have already let CAP and others know how strongly we oppose letting coaches communicate directly with “pre-SA’s” about the new requirements.

Finally, we note that the Academic Cabinet, during its recent meeting, expressed reluctance to change these standards (see pp 1-3 of the September 10, 2012 report). The Cabinet only supported a consideration of something like (d) if extended to championships in all sports, had a minimal missed class time condition, and allowed for only travel, not competition.